UACES Facebook Battling brothers in landscape challenge to kick off 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show
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Battling brothers in landscape challenge to kick off 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Feb. 9, 2017

Fast Facts:

  • 4-hour landscaping challenge features two of central Arkansas’s best-known landscape designers
  • 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show begins 10 a.m., Feb. 24 at the Statehouse Convention Center 

(627 words)
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LITTLE ROCK — A touch of good-natured sibling rivalry will be at the heart of the 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show’s kick-off event, but what will really be on display is the fast-moving work of two of Central Arkansas’s best-known gardeners and landscapers. 

Landscape Challenge graphic

Brothers Chris and Buddy Olsen will face off during the landscape challenge, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, just as the doors open to the public at the Statehouse Convention Center for the state’s largest flower and garden show. The two will have four hours to assemble their best gardening efforts against similar home front facades. 

Krista Quinn, executive director for the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, said photographers will be creating a time-lapse video of the event, so that attendees will be able to watch the process throughout the run of the show, which concludes Sunday, Feb. 26. 


“It should be really fun and inspiring to see how their plans come together and to see two different ways to landscape the same house,” Quinn said. “We'll also be interviewing the owners and landscape designers from each of the companies during the construction process to discuss home landscaping.   

“They'll provide information about great plants for Arkansas landscapes, some tips for designing front foundation plantings, and plenty of info about landscape construction techniques,” she said. “We'll take questions from the audience, as well, so this is a great opportunity to get advice from the experts.” 

Chris Olsen, owner of both Botanica Gardens and Plantopia in Little Rock, said he plans to bring a landscaping approach to the competition that will make onlookers second-guess their assumptions about typical yard work and gardening. 

“I don’t know what Buddy is doing, but what I always try to do is something that is totally out of the box,” he said. “Something that’s tasteful, but has a funky twist to it. 

“That’s what the clients usually hire Botanica for — we just don’t do what everyone else does. One thing I often do is to use a lot of different plants — my goal is to introduce 10-15 new varieties of different plants into my design each year, so that I always stay ahead of my competitors,” Chris said. 

Buddy Olsen, owner of Horticare Companies in Little Rock, said he plans to create a landscape masterpiece that was both eye-catching and accessible to the average gardener. 

“Our goal is to make something during this challenge that you’d actually want to put in your own home,” he said. “We’re going to use some color, but we’re trying to get in some plants that most people would actually use in their yard — something they can take home with them and incorporate in their own design. 

“We want to give people one or two ideas that will really help,” Buddy said. “Honestly, the yard used for the challenge is very small, and it’s hard to get too much in it.” 

Buddy said that many gardeners often “over plant” their yards, failing to take into account the eventual growth and expansion of new plants. 

“If you know a plant is going to be three feet wide and five feet tall, there’s no sense in putting another one two feet away from it,” he said. “Everything’s going to grow larger. And generally, your initial irrigation system won’t handle the plants once they take off and start growing.” 

Buddy said the approaching competition has been a source of good-natured ribbing within the family for a few weeks. 

“It’s been a topic of discussion at our family dinners here lately,” he said. 

Single-day tickets to the 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show are $10. Three-day passes are $15. Children 12 and younger get in free. To purchase tickets, see a full schedule of events and more, visit



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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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